To-do Von Listerstein

So now that I’ve been at Berrybrier almost a month (oh my god, how?!), I’ve got a pretty good plan of what I’m going to do for the next several years! Boy, is there plenty of work to do, but I am only excited. Before I can do the fun stuff, there’s some big stuff that needs to be done by the professionals. Whoop! There goes my savings! Luckily, once these things are complete, I’ll be able to rent out the two upper bedrooms and start saving up for more fun projects.

Right now I kind of have a hand in every pot of honey around this house, trying to do a million things at once. There are tons of little things that needed to be updated around here before it’s truly livable. Once these more behind-the-scenes items are complete, I’ll get to dive into more of the showy stuff. But I thought I’d break things down for you – and for myself! – to see what’s going on right now and where things are headed.

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Front Exterior:

Currently:

  • Trim back plants from street and sidewalk to allow passage of pedestrians and cars parking
  • Cut down bamboo
  • Trim walnut tree
  • Cut down palm tree
  • Turn soil
  • Plant clover as a cover crop
  • Cut back and remove berry bushes 
  • Move raised bed to side yard
  • Weeding!
  • Beef up front porch column
  • Replace lattice at porch with proper railing
  • Remove railing from side of house

Upcoming:

  • Paint house!
  • New roof and gutters
  • New house numbers
  • Line driveway with bricks
  • Remove chain link fence
  • Re-stain front door
  • Add new door knocker
  • Re-landscape front yard
  • Add white picket fence

Maybe Projects:

  • Add front porch along entire front of house
  • Turn existing porch into mud room
  • Turn existing front window into new french doors

 

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Entry:

Currently:

Upcoming:

  • Add coat rack
  • Add hooks
  • Add entry rug
  • Switch existing light fixture for new flush mount

Maybe Projects:

  • Center light fixture on entry
  • Add sconce?

 

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Living Room:

Currently:

  • Add furniture I have already
  • Cross fingers for roommates with furniture

Upcoming:

  • Paint!
  • Buy furnishings (loveseat, chairs, cocktail table, ottomans, rug etc…)
  • Remove stone from fireplace and build more traditional look
  • Trim out opening to kitchen
  • Build attractive wood storage
  • Switch light fixture for new
  • Center light fixture on fireplace

Maybe Projects:

  • Turn big window into french doors to new porch

 

Dining Room Before | Land of Laurel

Dining Room:

Currently:

  • Add existing furniture
  • Remove terrifying glass and concrete block shelving system from closet

Upcoming:

  • Paint!
  • Add functional storage to closet
  • Add panels to existing closet door in interim
  • Switch existing light fixture for new pendant over table
  • Line walls with bookcases to create library dining space!

Maybe Projects:

  • Re-work closets and lower floor bedroom entry?
  • Center light fixture

 

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Kitchen:

Currently:

  • Clean, clean, clean
  • Buy stove
  • Sand existing cabinets
  • Paint existing cabinets
  • Scrape existing flaking sheet vinyl up to expose original hardwood floors and stair treads
  • Purchase small butcher block table for next to stove
  • Remove small full height cabinet
  • Add my pantry china cabinet from the Duplex
  • Remove wallpaper

Upcoming:

  • Paint
  • Paint pantry china cabinet
  • Re-finish hardwood floors
  • New lighting (cans? pendants? semi-flush mounts?)
  • Remove cabinets on west side and replace with new
  • Wire for stove and vent hood at south side window
  • Plumb for sink beneath windows looking into backyard
  • Add new cabinets at new sink location
  • Remove door at stairs

Maybe Projects:

  • Add dormer on west side of house
  • Rework stairs with new railing using height from dormer to eliminate dual landing

 

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Main Bathroom:

Currently:

  • Replace toilet seat with new so it feels less disgusting in here
  • Clean and pray the germs away

Upcoming:

  • Complete demo!
  • New flooring!
  • New fixtures!
  • New layout!
  • New vanity cabinet!
  • New storage!
  • Paint

Maybe Projects:

  • Switch walls to make this bathroom the half bath and a full bath off the bedroom

 

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Lower Floor Bedroom:

Currently:

  • Add existing bedroom furniture
  • Add curtain rod and curtains

Upcoming:

  • Paint!
  • Clean and organize closet to make functional
  • New light fixture
  • Remove paper residue from wood floors

Maybe Projects:

  • Re-work entrance to room to be centered off dining room with his and hers closets

 

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Powder Room (Off Lower Floor Bedroom):

Currently:

  • Clean!

Upcoming:

  • New toilet
  • Secure sink to wall
  • Remove VCT flooring
  • Tile floors
  • Add wall paneling
  • Paint walls and ceiling

Maybe Projects:

  • Switch walls in bathrooms to make this a full bathroom and the one off the kitchen a powder room

 

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Stairwell:

Currently:

  • Clean

Upcoming:

  • Paint walls
  • Paint risers 
  • New hand rail 
  • New motion sensor or 3 way light switch
  • New light fixture

Maybe Projects:

  • Add sconces?
  • Add door where current eave access door is leading to north side dormer at top of stairs
  • Raise ceiling height at bottom of stairs / kitchen with south side dormer
  • Turn dual stair landing into single with extended ceiling height

 

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Upstairs Bedrooms:

Currently:

  • Clean

Upcoming:

  • New light fixture
  • Paint
  • Make closets more functional / attractive

Maybe Projects:

  • Add more outlets

 

Basement Before | Land of Laurel

Basement:

Currently:

  • Clean!
  • Strap hot water heater to concrete walls

Upcoming:

  • Vent dryer to exterior
  • Clean washer and dryer
  • Paint floors and walls
  • New 200 amp electrical box
  • Add storage
  • New front loading washer and dryer (stacking?)
  • Add laundry basket storage
  • New stainless steel utility sink
  • New lighting on single switch
  • Add rug and shelving at laundry

Maybe Projects:

  • Upgrade furnace and oil tank to new gas
  • Add outlets?

 

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Back Exterior:

Currently:

  • Turn soil
  • Plant clover as a cover crop
  • Move bricks from behind garage, evaluate if enough for patio
  • Cut back and remove some berry bushes 
  • Cut back asparagus
  • Trim magnolia tree
  • Build a brick patio beneath magnolia tree
  • Weeding!
  • Demo existing falling down fence
  • Build new fence
  • Buy outdoor table and chairs
  • Demolish deck roof

Upcoming:

  • Paint outdoor table and chairs
  • Demolish deck
  • Demolish chicken coop
  • Build new chicken coop and run
  • Plant raised bed vegetable garden
  • Add shade garden beneath Magnolia
  • Cultivate existing herb garden
  • Add fire pit with adirondack chair seating
  • Landscape yard

Maybe Projects:

  • Demolish existing garage
  • Add large shed
  • Add outdoor shower / tub?

 

Garage Before | Land of Laurel

Garage:

Currently:

  • Clean!
  • Remove chemicals and toxic waste
  • Remove junk and toss
  • Organize existing nuts, bolts, screws, etc

Upcoming:

  • Organize with proper tool and wood storage

Maybe Projects:

  • Demolish garage, replace with large shed

 

Whew! That’s a lot I’m working on and a lot to do coming up! Somehow it feels like I haven’t done anything, yet I’ve been working my butt off. I think all the little things happen over time and most are still in progress so although I haven’t checked a lot off my list yet, there’s still a lot going on! Luckily, I have an amazing amount of help. My dad came up for two weeks, my mom has been here helping for a month, my cousins Mary and Ted have been incredibly kind, dedicating hours upon hours to slowly tame this garden! I am so thankful for all this help. I am just overwhelmed by the generosity of my family members. I am looking forward to whipping the main bathroom and kitchen into shape so I can finally feel moved-in. Right now I feel very guilty showing people into my bathroom. Somehow, I’ve grown accustomed to it, but boy, it is not hygienic! Luckily the big items will get ticked off the list in the next couple of months allowing me to go into the new year in a fresh, clean space! Can’t wait for y’all to come visit in 2018!

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Welcome to Berrybrier!

I bought a house! AHHHHHHHHH!! That is the sounds of my brain doing somersaults with my stomach. It’s a lovely feeling. But, truly, this is an incredibly exciting thing I’ve been wanting for a looong time. To have a place of my own feels fantastic! We closed on August 18th and I’ve been up to my ears in dirt, dust, and tools ever since. It’s the best thing ever. I finally feel settled in to my own home and you can bet that I’ll be tearing up DIYing the heck out of this place. In fact, I’ve already gotten started, but before I share that, I’ll give you a look around the place!

This moneypit house is a real fixer-upper and not in a cute Joanna Gains farmhouse-y style. As in, this house needs help. BIG HELP. And I’m here to lend a hand! Pretty much everything needs fixing on this place, and yes I do mean everything. Name something that could need to be repaired on a home and this house needs it. Although to some, that could be completely daunting, I’m just looking forward to many years of projects ahead! Which is excellent considering that’s all I’ll be doing for the next long while.

From the very first moment I saw the first pictures of this house on Redfin, I knew it was my house. I literally gasped aloud and got a strange feeling in my gut. THIS was my house. I knew it. After seven months of looking and putting in offer after offer, I had found the one. It checked all the boxes: pre-1940s, 2+ bedrooms, a big yard, room to grow, good location near shops and restaurants, easy commute, plenty of projects. Y’all are going to think I’m crazy when you get a look at these pictures, but something about this house is just so right. Enough preamble, though! Let’s dive in.

That very first image I ever saw of the house looked something like this one below. Basically, you could tell there was a house and that it was blue, but mostly all you saw was greenery!

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At some point, someone really loved this yard and planted tons of wonderful things like walnut trees, redbuds, hydrangeas, asparagus, mint, dill, parsley, fuschias, roses, etc etc etc. That person has not lived in this house for a loooong time though and in the last many years, this yards have become completely overgrown. It’s a mess! But a glorious mess full of glorious surpises like late blooming Magnolia trees and hidden troves of bricks!

You walk to the front door of the house through the driveway, which isn’t ideal, but I’m unlikely to be able to afford to change that any time soon. So everyone who comes over is greeted by the sight of my lovely garage. Don’t mind the doors. That’s just what they look like when they think they’re “closed.”

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The garage is basically falling down. But don’t worry, it’s not the garage’s fault. The garage has a terrible parasite: poorly planned additions. Yup, that’s right folks, the garage has not one, not two, but three additions! Awww, bless it’s little heart, it is still  hanging in there.

If we walk down the driveway to the back of the house, you get to meet yet another fun add-on: an octagonal deck and it’s multi-material roof. Now this is beauty, ladies and gentleman. Oh and yes, it is also basically falling down.

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Does the above picture confuse  you a little bit? Here, let me help. This should explain things better…

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Still confused? Me too. Let me try to state a few facts to help clarify. The above picture shows two of the garage additions: a workshop and a chicken coop. The structure coming out of the garage is the roof that covers the deck. It’s made of corrugated fiberglass, plywood(??), and a whole lot of screws. The supports for this little DIY roof, descend into the garage and chicken coop roofs, essentially ensuring that all water will collect there and all the things will rot. It’s a fantastic design. Truly, I could not have thought of it myself. The octagonal deck is made of 8 sides of different lengths varying from 15′ to 2′, just because, why not? The stairs of the deck descend into the corner of the garage and end about 4″ from it. As far as I can tell, this is designed specifically so that when you fall down the stairs your skull will crack completely open. That’s just my interpretation though. Also, this deck? Covers seemingly perfect condition original concrete steps. God, I love this house.

On to the backyard. This – and no sarcasm here – is what truly won my heart. This yard is bursting with potential. Potential and a whole lot of berries. On the far right is a huge magnolia tree that provides plenty of shade for a future table and chairs. Beyond that? All berries. Yup that huge mound of greenery is all RASPBERRIES!! AKA the best thing on earth except for chocolate. I spent my time touring this house eating raspberries from the backyard and it was heavenly. I cannot wait until next summer! You can also see a falling down fence, 1940s laundry line, and the huge chicken coop window in this picture. Why your chicken coop needs such a large window is a little beyond me, but I am assuming it’s so your chickens can torture Portland’s raccoons and coyotes.

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Here’s another view of the backyard looking towards the front. Here you see a huge rosemary bush, tons and tons of mint, a redbud tree, some parsley, and plenty of bees & butterflies. It’s really gorgeous if you can get past the flaking paint on the house. Yup the house needs painting. And a roof. Somehow I can afford this? I am surprised too. Luckily the windows are all updated! They’re double-paned which is pretty essential here in the Pacific Northwest. They are dark green vinyl exterior, wood interior windows which although it’s not my first choice, I’m pretty happy to have updated windows. I get to pick a really awesome paint color for the house’s siding to coordinate with the hunter green exterior windows and I can paint the inside any thing I want!

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Let’s go inside shall we? Here is the foyer! I am obsessed with this multi-paneled door. I think it is absolutely gorgeous and just needs to be sanded down and re-stained a darker walnut tone. That will make it look far less orange and 1980s. The foyer is open to the living room. Originally, this part of the house was an exterior porch that was converted into living space in the earlier part of the century. You can see the transition of the flooring. When they enclosed the porch they decided to keep the downward slope of the floor (that all porches have for drainage). That, my friends, is called “character.” The light fixture is kind of hideous, but also weird and beautiful, so I’m keeping it. The opening on the right to the dining room.

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The floors in the house are softwood – fir. They’re gorgeous and miraculously in good shape! The living room is relatively spacious and gets great light through south and west facing windows. The fireplace is an “update” from the 1960s or maybe 1970s. I’ll be completely reworking it down the line, but for now, it’s a functional fireplace! Which means s’mores! And fire! The pyro in me is just too pleased.

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This picture explains some of the flow of the house too. Standing in the corner of the room by the fireplace you can look out of the big front window to the front jungle yard and almost see the front door tucked in the niche in the corner. The dining room opens to the living room and you can almost see it on the right.

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The dining room is a little less bright since it has more northern light, but it’s a great size and fits my round table with room to grow. There is also a closet which we can’t close the door to, because it gets stuck shut. Which it is right now. Stuck shut, I mean. Just add that to my to do list, mmkay, thanks! Shout out to my dad about to walk up the front steps carrying tools though!

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Next you go through this teeny hall that has the basement door on one side and this strange hall to the lower floor bedroom on the other side. This is from the end of the hall looking towards the living room. The ceiling in the hall here drops lower because of the stairs. This lovely accordion door could be closed if you wanted to hide the kitchen from view. But yeah, that door already bit the dust. No thanks, accordion door!

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The weird little hall to the bedroom is kinda gross, but there’s a big closet at the end. This will end up being my closet because there isn’t actually a closet in the lower floor bedroom. PFffft. Closets. Whatever. So last year.

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The lower floor bedroom will end up being my bedroom. The other two I will be renting out. This room has nice high ceilings, picture railing, and northern light (good for sleeping). It also has a 24″ wide door to Portland’s smallest powder room.

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If you ever wanted to wash your hands while peeing, this bathroom is for you. Your knees literally tuck right under the wall mounted sink. In a bathroom this small, you’d better add 1970’s faux-paneling though. That’s the cherry on top. Truly, it’s precious, vct flooring and all. Plus look! The previous owner left us toilet paper.

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Let’s go into the kitchen. Look at these cabinets! The wallpaper! The old cast iron sink! This room is pretty dim from the roof that’s over the back deck, but I have a quick fix for that. It’s called demo. I wanted to try to keep these cabinets, they’re not in bad shape at all! Two weeks into the house, and I’m not positive they’re salvageable though. The flooring in this room though? The exact same as what my Oma had in her kitchen!

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Here’s a shot of the room that helps with layout. I took this standing on the landing of the stairs that lead to the upper level of the house. Look how cute the glass cabinets are though! SO MUCH POTENTIAL!

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This is one of my favorite details of the house. a little paint, a little crown moulding, and these will be cute cute cute!

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But why talk about the cute when we can talk about the ugly? Let’s go into the bathroom! Space planning these bathrooms was an issue. They’re also located in part of the house that was originally the back porch and it’s only about 54″ wide. So clearly you should put a ginormous bathtub in there, slap sheet vinyl on the floor AND the vanity, paint the walls dark magenta, and buy a pink toilet to match. It’s only right!

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Okay, let’s move on. The stairs! They’re not so bad! I mean the railing is black because it’s apparently NEVER been cleaned, but other than that, they’re quite pretty and not super narrow like most added to this era of home.

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The bedrooms on the second level are both under the eaves and just so cute. They both get fantastic light and are super cozy. And by cozy, I mean hot as balls right now, but you get the picture. The plaster is looking not so great on that back wall because someone plastered over wallpaper, because… well I’ve already said it.

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The closets in this room are a little funky, but that’s just vintage. A little rehab-ing and it will be completely adorable. Look at the gorgeous door though! Five panels!!!! I love it, love it, love it. Also the daisy flower heat register? THERE IS NOTHING MORE CHARMING.

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The other bedroom is where I am currently sweating sleeping, because I’ve given the lower floor bedroom to my parents who are helping me jump start the renovations on this place. Yay! Parents! The closet in here is a little more spacious and a little less funky. The room is a sweat sweet blue color that will be great in the fall or whenever Oregon decides to no longer be 100+ degrees. It’s just a tad hot at the moment. But my tried and true method of sleeping with a washcloth full of ice is doing the trick.

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And that’s it! That’s the house! I can’t wait to share all that I’ve been up to in the last few weeks and all that I’ve been dreaming about starting in the months to come. Get ready for oversharing and lots of learning experiences. Like this one for instance: I recently learned that I look like this after spending 3 hours moving bricks in 100° heat.

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I promise, give me a few months and this house will be almost as beautiful as that face. If that’s even possible. And if the spiders I keep finding EVERYWHERE don’t eat me first. Only time will tell!

Oh! And I named the house. Or I named the property. I am a total nerd, but I’ve always loved when people named their homes. This place is officially named Berrybrier. I’ll get into all the reasons later, but a good part of the origin starts with that out of control raspberry bush in the backyard!

So what do you think? Am I totally crazy, in over my head? Probably. Did you buy a fixer upper? Have tips for laying brick patios? What is your house called?

 

 

Dreaming of the Cabin Life

Lately I’ve had cabins on the mind. I’ve always loved camping and the outdoors and the idea of a little rustic cabin tucked away on some land really excites me! A few years ago my parents almost bought some property in the woods that opened up to a beautiful meadow with a small cabin. They ended up not going through with the sale, but boy, it was gorgeous. Ever since then I’ve had cabins in mind as a future destination for holidays and summer vacations. Some place I could curl up by the fireplace with a big mug of tea and a good book. Some place with lots of land for running around. Some place I could throw out a blanket for a picnic. Some place peaceful and surrounded by nature. In my mind, this cabin looks a little something like this…

The cabin would be nestled somewhere flat surrounded by woods, a bit like this:

Cabin in the Woods | Land of Laurel

But it might be in a wide open meadow surrounded by woods too. Regardless, there will definitely be a nice big porch. Preferably one that wraps around the entire house and has a covered outdoor fireplace, just like this:

Cabin with Porch Fireplace | Land of Laurel

When you came inside, there would be a great big living area with room for tons of family and friends to all hang out together. It would be light and bright with white walls and gorgeous, rustic, wood work, somewhat like this:

Stone Fireplace in Cabin | Land of Laurel

You’d want to curl up by the fireplace for sure! It would be the perfect spot to play a board game or sit and chat. The stone from the fireplace and rustic wood beams would be repeated through out the house. You’d also find them in the kitchen:

Stone with Rustic Wood in the Kitchen | Land of Laurel

The stove and hood would most definitely be carved out like the picture above for a dramatic and rustic look! Obviously a big island is a must! You need a place for big buffets at family dinners as well as a place to sit and much on appetizers while chatting with the chefs! Not to mention – where else would you breakfast?!

That same stone and rustic beams? We’re not done with them yet. They’d absolutely show up again in the bathrooms. Maybe behind a free standing tub for a picture perfect bath:

Stone Wall Behind Tub Bathroom | Land of Laurel

And perhaps in another bathroom, it would become the backsplash at the vanity.

Rustic Stone Backsplash | Land of Laurel

And speaking of bathrooms, there would have to be an outdoor tub for kids to splash in and adults to lounge in at night and look up at the stars.

Outdoor Bathtub | Land of Laurel

And with kids around, there’d have to be a bunk room for big family sleepovers! The room would be chock full of beds to sleep as many people as possible and there would be a great chair or window seat for reading. You’d see the same style of rustic wood work in here again.

Rustic Bunk Room | Land of Laurel

The bunk room would probably have a barn door that was almost always open so the kids could come in and out of the room with ease.

Rustic Barn Door | Land of Laurel

The other bedrooms would be darker and cozy with plenty of wood. At least one of them would have a rustic stone fireplace.

Rustic Wood and Stone Lodge Bedroom Fireplace | Land of Laurel

The other would incorporate more wood work and some Pendleton inspired rugs and blankets. Both rooms would be the perfect place to lay out for a mid-day nap or snuggle up for a long, cold night. The darker feel of the bedrooms would promote sleeping, but also encourage guests to head out into the lighter brighter parts of the house when they woke.

Rustic Bedroom | Land of Laurel

Overall, the entire cabin would be the perfect place to visit, a place for family and friends, a home to retire too. It would be comfortable and rustic, a great retreat, a place to relax. It would encourage slow activities like reading, cooking, board games, hiking, walking, gardening, long baths. The cabin would be a place to escape from modern technology and the stresses of everyday life. The cabin would be like an old wool blanket wrapped around your shoulders. At least that’s what I’m imagining. After all, right now this place only exists in my mind…

What are you daydreaming about? Do you design retreats in your head? Are they cabins? Do you have cabin? What is your favorite design element of cabins? The rustic beams? The stone work?

Sources: exterior, outdoor fireplace, indoor fireplace, kitchen, bathroom tub, bathroom vanity, outdoor tub, bunkroom, barndoor, fireplace bedroom, rustic bedroom